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Open plan offices session at ANC Conference 2016

Jack Harvie-Clark chaired the session on acoustic design for open plan offices at the Association of Noise Consultants conference in June 2016.  Jack described the acoustic parameters in ISO 3382-3, which have been used differently across Europe.


He outlined how the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, one of the main drivers behind the Standard, adopt a set of performance requirements that determines how an open plan office should be designed.  To achieve a high Classification under the Finnish system, workstations effectively become cellular with high screens between desks.  Valtteri Hongisto has published an empirical method to determine the parameters without undertaking room acoustic modelling, typically in CATT or Odeon.  This method is very useful for scoping the requirements and advising on the implications of any particular design constraints.

The French Standard NF S 31-199 take a very different approach in their standard for open plan work places published in March 2016 (English translation coming soon).  This standard describes different types of open plan environment, including call centres, open plan offices where there is a high or low degree of collaborative work, and customer service centres for the public.  Different parameters and target values are adopted depending on the type of environment.

The draft German VDI 2569 “Sound protection and acoustical design in offices” takes a different approach again.  It adopts the classification system approach, thereby defining three Classes of performance, A, B, C.  It defines different types of offices based on size, and adopts different parameters from ISO 3382-3 for each.  It avoids the use of STI and therefore the radius of distraction, arguing that STI is redundant because the spatial decay of speech and reverberation time are adequate and sufficient descriptors.  This standard will be published in English at the same time as in German when finalised.

You can download Jack’s slides below with more links to useful sources of information.

Open-plan-offices_JHC ANC 2016

Jack Harvie-Clark presents the session on acoustic design for open plan offices at the ANC conference

Return to Research into Open Plan Offices.

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